Creating a Family Launch Pad ~ What we used

Boy has this been a long time coming!  Over the years we have had various versions of school stations, organisation stations, launch pads but none have quite been as HUGE as this one. 

Introducing our Family Launch Pad.


Our Family Launch Pad ~ The Organised Nest

So what is a “Launch Pad?’ It is a place for us as a family to “Launch” into our day, whatever it holds. Whether it’s off to school, grocery shopping, out on a family trip, basically anything that involves leaving the house!

Before I go into how this works for us, the most common question I get is how we created it.  You need to start at IKEA.

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IKEA – KALLAX – 1×4 Shelving Unit

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IKEA – KALLAX – Insert with 2 Drawers

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IKEA – KALLAX – 2 x4 Shelving Unit

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IKEA – TROFAST – Storage box

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 When assembling the Kallax 1 x 4 shelving unit, we simply left one shelf out so that we would have an extra high space to fit a school bag.

You could alter this setup to include more or less family members or tailor it to your own individual budget.  We already had the Trofast boxes and the 2 x4 shelving unit in Master O’s room where it sat disorganised and created a toy dumping ground.  The most expensive part of this was the drawers.  To cut costs you could use  shelves (also sold as part of the Kallax range) or just use the Kallax as is.  We have a really open plan lower level of the house so I wanted this unit to be as disguised as possible so for me the drawers were the answer.  Be warned the drawers sit inside the unit so you loose a bit of space but we still comfortably fit a pair of shoes (or two kindy size) or a library bag and book, or homework folder in one.

In the next post I will detail how we use it!!!! Can somebody say LOVE!  This is already up there with the best Organising feature of our home!!!



Creating a School Storage Station – Part 1

I must admit this is not my first School Station.  Master O is about to start his third year at school!  Please don’t ask how that makes me feel! 

Our first station looked like this.


This area was set up especially for Prep – Grade 1.  

The drawers worked brilliantly, although his bag was a bit squashed in that bottom drawer I absolutely loved having those two top drawers for homework folders, library bags and everything that came along with going to school!

I also loved the Basket on top for our School File It Folder and storing notes.

But then…..once he got to Grade 1, the homeowrk increased, and once he changed schools, it increased again.  This area was simply too distracting for homework.  It also meant I had three sets of stationery areas.  One in the playroom, one in this area and one in the study for myself.  So we moved Master O into my study.  We set up his desk and noticeboard and stationery across from me in the study.  In general though come homeowrk time we all sit at my desk together!  I have a huge L shaped desk and three chairs.  Little Miss A sits across from me and does some phonics practice, drawing, cutting or experimental writing.  Master O sits next to me so I can talk him through what he is doing.  He is a very self sufficient and independent learner but I love to know what he is learning at school and the best way to do this and to be involved in homework.  The big desk is also great for doing projects (which seem to take up so much room and get bigger each fortnight!)

I digress!  So those handy drawers moved into the study and I took them over as my own as my desk has no drawers in it.  So we went through the last part of last year with a great space for homework but no specific place for storing school stuff.  

and that my friend is where we are at!

What do I need this space to do?

  1. Contain School Items
  2. Be easily accessible and at a childs height but alos be neat and tidy
  3. Be flexible in its arrangement for different children’s needs

1. So what do I need our School Station to contain;

  • School Bags
  • School Hats
  • Homework/message Folders and Planners
  • Library Bags
  • School File It Folder
  • Artwork Folder (Miss A)
  • Sheet Bag (Miss A)
  • Individual timetables/schedule

After careful thought I don’t want it to contain school shoes.  School shoes and especially Kindy shoes have a habit of coming home full of sand.  So they can stay in the garage! 

How do I want to contain it so its neat and tidy, flexible and easily accessible?

  • I think I need a combination of baskets, shelves, drawers and hooks.  
  • I dont want to hang the school bags.  We have had bad luck with hooks in this house and I dont want any more damage to my walls.  
  • I also want the end solution to be flexible.  I am still thinking about moving this station to the study so whatever I use I want to be able to relocate it easily.  As they get older they can also then move it to their own bedroom.  
  • It has to be able to be configured in different ways for different children.  Because my children are quite spaced apart in age (3+years and 4+Years) they are always going to have very different school needs.  By the time Baby #3 starts school Master O will be starting High School!  So I think each child needs their own station.  Master O’s will need to be able to hold sports equipment and Little Miss A’s, a sheet bag for Kindy.
  • It can’t be too tall.  Little Miss A needs to be able to open and close everything herself. 

After writing all this I am automatically thinking of my old friends IKEA Expedit and Trofast.  The fact that the Trofast has both drawers and shelves and comes in a variety of heights has me thinking it may be the answer!  Although the frames are both a similar price,  it is much cheaper to buy the Trofast drawers and shelves (around $5) than buying baskets or drawers for an Expedit (between $10-20).  

 What will work in the space? 

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.59.37 PM So this is where I am thinking.  It is where everything else organisational is located and would make the space feel complete.  I do worry as this space is at the opposite end of the house to the garage (where we enter the house) and the study (where we do homework).  But for now I think its worth a try!  

So let’s get planning!!!! 

I am such a visual person that I had to literally piece it all together in pictures.

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 I will go into more detail tomorrow but you can start to get the idea! 

Cleaning Schedules – Living and Dining

 Yesterday I shared this picture on Instagram. 

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  It is of our Weekly Cleaning Schedule.  Due to bad health, we haven’t used it for a while. Our house and us as a family have been just surviving o and if the bench got wiped down and the floor vacuumed that was a huge bonus.   But this week I am desperately hoping to get back into routine and to stop letting the washing pile up and the dust accumulate.  By doing just a little each day, I find the house always seems a little tidier and cleaner. I love lists and routines so it was only appropriate that our house cleaning should have one too!

 Being sick has also made me realise that sometimes I need more specific lists of exactly what each job entails.  This helps if I need to get a cleaner in, or hubby is doing the job or even if the kids want to help!  They love to check it off the list!  So here is our a little more specific list for the first zone of our house, the Living and Dining Room.

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 This is one big open plan space.  Although it gets a tidy throughout the day I love to have one day a week where it gets a little more attention.

Wipe Down Couches:  We have WHITE leather couches.  People thought we were crazy getting them with young children, but seriously they are the easiest thing to keep clean!  Being leather you can simply wipe off a spill and I have even managed to scrub off lipstick and pink pen, thanks to Little Miss A’s artistic endeavours.  Being white means that they are colourfast.  If I have to scrub in a particular area, that area doesnt become faded, because it is white!  I simply wipe down the couch with baby wipes!!!  I also love Method’s Leather spray and once a month we give it the royal treatment with a leather care kit we have.

Wash Cushions:  If the weather is good (unlike yesterday!) I give our decorative cushions a wash.  I always look for covers that are removable and machine washable as grubby hands and faces love our cushions!!

Dust Wall Unit:  This one the kids love to help with!  I have a whole assortment of micro fibre cloths and they love to choose a colour and dust the unit!  Just be sure to watch them with the precious breakables!  Learnt that one the hard way!  Oh and they have a tendency to set up their own little displays including our current “Smurf Stampede”!

Wipe TV Screen:  At the moment I am using Glass spray but I would love for someone to recommend a great product for screens!

Declutter Magazines:  The magazine rack has a habit of attracting junk mail and brochures that do not need to be kept longer than a week!  

Dust and Wipe Down The Buffet:  Yet again a microfibre cloth and then a spray with Method “Wood for Good Daily Spray.”  Then Monthly I give it a good polish with Method “Touch Wood”

Dining Room

This is a quick one!

Wipe Down Chairs:  We have a kind of suede chair seat that I wipe over with a dmap micro fibre cloth.

The Table Runner gets thrown in the wash with the cushion covers and the table gets a clean with the “Wood For Good” 

I also love to use this time to give my decor a little rearrange!

All up this take me less than 40minutes!  Especially if I have little helpers!  We turn the music up and get cleaning!  

For more details on our Cleaning Schedule

or to download the FREE PRINTABLE check this out….. 

Cleaning Schedules

Let’s Get Organising ~ Organising Projects ~ July

What better way to make myself accountable, than to share my July Organising To Do List HERE!  This month I am hoping to tackle 5 Organising Projects.

1. The Fridge


Source: via Larissa on Pinterest

 I am realistic, my fridge will never look like this, but it could definitely take some tips from this beauty!  I will be using this pic as some “pinspiration” or maybe just wishful thinking! How amazing are all those baskets!

2.  Take Away Menus. 

Source: via Larissa on Pinterest


This month I would love to make my own little version of a take away menu folder.  Our bottom kitchen drawer has a steadily increasing pile of menus and vouchers that really need some organising.

3. Bathroom Baskets 

Source: via Larissa on Pinterest


Last year we undertook some major Bathroom Organising but I never got around to labelling all those baskets! I have some labels in mind, something similar to those above with some gorgeous ribbon and laminated card.

4. Kids Bathroom

Source: via Molly on Pinterest


This is another BIG job! The “My Pigeon Pair” bathroom needs organising AND decorating! I would love to try and make some gorgeous wall art to add some flair to their bathroom!

5. The Cords


I have seen this organising project done many different ways and have had this picture from IHeart Organizing pinned for ages!  I don’t think mine will be as pretty as this but I am sure it will be just as practical!

Now that it’s all on paper it seems like I have my work cut out for me!  Maybe I should have thought of all of these jobs whilst I was on school holidays!

Wish me luck!

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Laundry Lust


Each Thursday I will be sharing a new Thoughtful idea!  If it’s organised, beautiful, delicious or smart, I want to know about it and share it with you all!!!    I happened to come across a new blog this week, and boy did I find a treasure trove of wonderful ideas and spaces! So on this, the very first Thoughtful Thursday I am showcasing a space that is organised, beautiful AND smart!  All three in one space. Not only that but it is a laundry. One of my most hated spaces!

So sit down and prepare to drool over this lustworthy laundry!

Tell us about yourself….

Family is so very important to me – I am a doting wife, daughter, sister and aunty to my very special family.  My home is my special place, and I love cooking, cleaning, organising, sewing, scrapbooking, party planning, gift-making and more. My home is set on two acres, so I also enjoy getting outdoors and gardening.  

Tell us about your blog…

I started blogging last year, and I have been addicted ever since.  I guess over the years, I have enjoyed giving tips and ideas to friends and family on home organisation.  While I am certainly no expert in the field, I do love sharing the little things that I do which make my life simpler, just from having a system that works for me.  Cassadiva has been the platform for me to share lots of ideas for home organisation, crafting, parties, cooking and more!  

What makes your space organised, beautiful and smart? Because we certainly think it is!!

Our laundry renovation:
It was spring last year when we decided to renovate our laundry.  I am lucky to have quite a handy hubby and we have done some small make-overs in our house previously, but the majority of his big projects have been landscaping our beautiful two acres.  I don’t think he was quite ready for the challenge of a bathroom, so the laundry it was!  The laundry was one of the stand-out things about the house when we bought it 8 years ago, due to the sheer size of the room, and I just fell in love with the sewing bench.  I guess I had always wanted to make the most of such an amazing space in our home, because it just seemed like we weren’t using it to its full potential.

After we ripped out the old laundry and took our measurements, I hopped onto the Bunnings website and used their online planning tool to create my dream laundry.  It uses the measurements of the room to create a virutual room, and then you simply slot in the cupboards into the available space.  It was so easy to use and because I am such a visual person, it was great to be able to see it all transforming before my eyes!

We bought the cupboards from Bunnings, and I ordered custom made benches through Ikea, which didn’t even take two weeks to have made.  After many hours of hard work, our Laundry went from this

to this

I finally had this amazing space to call my own!  I now have 13 cupboards, 8 drawers and 2 shelves to play with!  I love that half of them are still empty too!

These 2 shelves  are designed to house two washing baskets -one for washing and one for ironing.  I have finally ended my epic search to find the ‘perfect’ baskets ie: baskets that fill all of the available space in these two cubby holes, as last week I finally struck gold when I found just what I had been looking for!  But I still need to spraypaint and fabric-line them, so I am using these old baskets until that project is done.
So what makes this space smart?

A pull-out clothes line for wet weather

A wall-mounted Robinhood ironing centre (which is fully wired with light, timer and power):

And a pull-out hose from the tap for thoroughly washing things down.

Although I haven’t finished the painting, decorating and organising in here, it is such a great room, and I am really happy with the end product!  I love that everything has a home, and that I have plenty of room to move around in here and do my jobs.  And the pink accents make it such a happy place for me to work, craft and play!


You can wipe away your drool now!  Yes I will be “pinning” these pictures to my “Laundry” board on Pinterest!  

Is it crazy to be dreaming about laundries? 

What would be in your dream laundry?

Check out Cassadivas BLOG and FACEBOOK page for more AMAZING ideas!  Tell her I said Hi!

Oh and did I mention she is a teacher too?  

What is it with organising teachers?

Organising ~ The Kitchen Utensil Drawer

Don’t for a minute think I am bored these school holidays.  The sudden influx of organising projects on this blog has not been spurred on by cabin fever but rather  a completely normal obsession with “The Amanda’s” watched on re run on foxtel and late night stalkings of Jen’s blog “iheart Organizing”.  With each episode of these immaculately dressed super OCD organisers transforming peoples homes and every divine decorating post of Jen’s, I find myself searching for the next great organising project in our home. And boy, in our house we are not short of an area or three that needs organising.  The big ones on the school holiday agenda are;

  • My Wardrobe.  DONE – Well nearly, a post about that big job is on it’s way!
  • The Playroom. ONGOING – This is going to involve lots of little projects but one big one has already been done!
  • Bills and Family Paperwork – ONGOING BUT we have a good system happening!
  • The Kitchen. Mainly the utensil drawer.  This was a little project between big projects!
Now it’s out there for you all to read I will have to do it!  Nothing like writing a blog post to stay accountable and motivated!  So in between the shopping for storage baskets and purging of clothes, I rearranged and reorganised our kitchen utensil drawer.  It was a dumping ground for every kitchen item that was not cutlery….
here it is in all its jumbled mess glory or as the Amandas would say a “hot mess”
1. Purge.  The first problem in this drawer is that it needed a good purge.  There were things in here that truly defy belief!  So it was all out on the kitchen bench and the ruthless culling began! If its broken or you can really remember the last time you used it…THROW IT OUT!
2. Sort.  Like items together.  Here I sorted by purpose.  Baking things together, serving things together, cookie cutters together etc.
3. Home.  All those beaters really don’t belong in this drawer.  The tongs were plentiful and could really be beter housed elsewhere. 
4. Storage!  It was time to “contian” all this stuff.  By insuring everything had a home I hope this draw will be easy to keep organised!!! This was one of the easiest storage solutions I have ever found!  First shop at KMART and there she was!  An adjustable, plastic, cutlery tray for $9!!  I could adjust it to fit my drawer almost perfectlly and it keeps items separated form each other.
Without further adieu, introducing the new and improved Kitchen Utensil Drawer.a

Oh how I love a good before and after!  Yes I am quite chuffed with myself that I stayed on task and actually completed a job off our to do list!  Our to do list?  Who am I kidding MY to do list!  So out of the drawer and back into the cupboard, my wardrobe is a HUGE job and yes this time you will not see before pictures because it is mortifying!

What is on your organising to do list?

It’s in the tin

I have a confession.  I have an addiction to tins. Well not just tins.  Tins, baskets, buckets well storage containers in general.  If I see it, think I can use it to store it, I have to have it!

Luckily for me these kinds of containers can be found at your cheapest of cheap stores.  The latest additions are these eggshell blue beauties.

These two not only look good but have provided me with anorganistaion solution to two problems I was struggling with.  

Problem 1. Teacher’s Notes – The Teacher Tin – Left

 Since going back to work this year, I have been cramming my teacher “things” in our family Organisation station.  But it was over crowded and the system of everything toegther was just not working. So the “Teacher Tin” has created a space for me to  store my Teacher planner, meeting notebook, usb sticks, pens etc.  

Problem 2. Handy Stuff. – “The Go To Tin.”  – Right

This started off as our winter station.  

Then summer came and it was a summer station, but then it somehow got stuffed with bits of everything and well everything was everywhere!   Our “Go To Tin” solved this problem by keeping everything in a more sturdy container.  This clever storage space holds, sanitizer, tissues, breath mints, sunscreen, insect repellent and wipes.  This is great if your children are ever cared for  by  a babysitter or “the nanny” in our case!  Whatever they need it is most probably in this tin!  We were using this little bowl but things kept falling over! This tin holds everything but the kitchen sink in a secure and safe spot away from little hands!  

We are also working on a “School Storage” place for the ever increasing mountain of school stuff!  Stay tuned! 

Home is where your heart is.

We spend a lot of time thinking about what we don’t have.  Of course there is always the new car, a million dollars, an overseas trip but in particular we spend a lot of time thinking about “in the next house”.  

And then we found a block of land.  Naturally we got really excited and started imagining what we could do.  We are positive thinkers, well dreamers actually and it took “him” to bring me back to reality.   It would mean moving.  Twice.  Once into a rental and then into the new home.  It would mean building stress right as Master O starts school for the first time.  It would mean selling our house during a bad market time.  It would mean selling the home that both our children were born into.  The home we built together, with dreams of a family.  A place of baptisms, birthdays, and BBQ’s.   It dawned us.  We have spent so much time thinking about what we would do differently next time we don’t appreciate what is right here under our feet.  

We have just been living in our house.  We haven’t put much effort into making it into our HOME.  The poor thing is six years old and has not been appreciated for everything she is.  So this week I am grateful for our home.  I am grateful for finally realising that we need to appreciate everything we have and not what we don’t have.

 So starting now and continuing in 2012 we will show our HOME how much we appreciate her.  We will decorate, organise,  de-clutter, transform and add our own fingerprints to every inch of this HOME.  It will change with the seasons, with our growth, with the budget and with us.  

Each month we will tackle a new room, a new project, a new junk collection, a new way of making our lives organised, beautiful, smart and fun! Naturally I will be sharing with the flock every step of our journey! In fact I would love your inspiration, your ideas, and your photos as we go from room to room, project to project!

So 2012 is going to be the year we stop living in the clouds and instead live where our hearts are every day and where our heads rest every night.